London, Jan 26: A part of the package of grants announced by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, will be used to develop micro-irrigation technologies for small-holder farmers in India. The Microsoft czar's package of grants totalling US 306 million dollars intends at ameliorating the productivity and profitability of agriculture in the developing world, reports Nature.
A large part of this money will go to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which aims at improving the soils in more than 6.3 million hectares of farmland on the continent. However, how this money is going to be spent via AGRA to tackle these problems is still not finalized. It was being speculated for months that the Gates foundation was planning to spend a big amount for developing world agriculture. Rest of the foundation's package will be used to boost high-quality coffee production or milk quality in Kenya, and improve dairy farmers' access to markets in Bangladesh.
19.8 million dollars will be given over three years to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Manila, Philippines, the largest injection of money into rice research for a couple of decades. Other funds will go towards projects looking for genes involved in salinity and drought tolerance.